Monday, August 3, 2015

Religion Versus Rameumptum

Mankind! (That's an exclamation our late aged neighbor used to use.) It's frustrating. Why do people not know the difference or make a distinction between a church where you show up and do and say things, and a religion that is quietly sought and studied out and learned and pondered and lived inside each individual person as best he can throughout each day? In such a scenario it becomes very easy to become like the Zoramites who climbed up their Rameumptum tower once a week, thanked God that they were so much better than everybody else, and then never thought about God again until the next Sunday. So much for any applicable religious reason for keeping the Sabbath day "holy." Have people forgotten that Jesus Christ came and taught a religion much beyond the Ten Commandments? He made it quite clear that it's supposed to be about what's going on in our hearts and minds, first, middle, last, and always, and he also made quite clear that our inner person needs to be cleaned up regularly, our souls restored as the scripture says, through Christ---not Jesus the massage therapist, the Jesus who died for our sins. 

A Christian church exists to build up a person's religiosity, that is, to save souls by turning them to Christ inside their hearts and minds, what Alma calls our faculties. But it may utterly fail. In fact it may do just the opposite: motivate people to care only about things like human relations, outward compliance, humanitarian service, accomplishments, positions, honors, comforts, and praise of men. That's why Jesus called the top church leaders in his day hypocrites and whited sepulchers. They were doing all the abundant pious exterior stuff but inside were prideful and filthy and wicked. All they cared about were the performances that others could see. Their motivations were selfish. Their hands were clean but their souls were fouled  (to borrow from Euripides). This soul-deep wickedness is warned against all through the scriptures.

There's a crazy idea going around that says a church's doctrines and that same church's policies are mutually exclusive. This smacks of the old Rameumptum, the wickedness of hypocrisy. Correct us if we're wrong, but shouldn't church doctrine inform all church policies, just as individually our religious beliefs should inform our motives and actions? That's certainly what we hear from all theological teachings. And yet there are some who are saying the opposite, trying to find some excuse for how churches and other organizations like the Boy Scouts of America are caving in to accommodate the pervasive sexual immorality of our times.

And let's not forget that policies form sentiment. An institution's policies will trickle down into its members' everyday lives. People do what their leaders do, not so much what they say. An organization that embraces sexual immorality is modeling that act for every member and every family to copy.

One thing we could do is pray that we as a people will be brought to repentance---sincere, whole-hearted, selfless, humble repentance. Only those who resist Christ as our essential Redeemer could argue with that. 

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